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James Ferguson (1710–1776) by Robert Stewart, pubd 1776 (after John Townsend) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ferguson, James (1710–1776), lecturer on natural philosophy and inventor of scientific instruments, was born on 25 April 1710 at Core of Mayen, Rothiemay, Banffshire, the second of at least six children of John Ferguson, a farmworker renting a smallholding, and his wife, Elspeth Lobban...